Ready, set, Speedo! 'Ballsy' fundraiser race returns to raise awareness for cancer

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  • The annual Daredevil Run is set to take place in September 2022.
  • The fundraising event will see thousands of men run in a Speedo to raise awareness about prostate and testicular cancer.
  • Prostate cancer is the most common cancer type among men in SA.

“It’s ballsy, it’s brave, it’s different … and it’s back.”

For the first time in two years, the Hollard Daredevil Run will see thousands of men in purple Speedos take to the streets to raise awareness for prostate and testicular cancer.

While the event is set to take place at Zoo Lake in Johannesburg on 30 September 2022, men across South Africa are being encouraged to organise and participate in runs in their own neighbourhoods. 

“Running in just a speedo is something that asks a lot of men, more than most people understand. But dealing with cancer asks a lot too. And that is why this platform works,” says Warwick Bloom, Group Head: Internal Marketing and PR at Hollard.

READ MORE | Prostate cancer – The silent killer few South African men are prepared to talk about

Prostate cancer is the second most commonly occurring cancer in men. In 2020, there were more than 1.4 million new cases, according to the World Health Organization. In South Africa, it is the most common cancer among men across all provinces.

With increased awareness, cases can be detected early. Fortunately, some cancer types, such as testicular cancer, have high cure rates if appropriate treatment is provided early on.

How it all started

Nick Levesley, who led the very first Daredevil Run 13 years ago, says it started with just a few brave souls running through peak hour traffic in speedos to raise awareness about cancer.

He initially missed out on winning a prize in a radio giveaway. Because he was determined to win something, he offered to run down Johannesburg’s Jan Smuts Avenue in a Speedo. The radio station accepted the dare, and Levesley called on some friends and arranged for them to win prizes if they participated with him.

READ MORE | ‘I survived testicular cancer – here’s why you should get your balls checked’

But the group of friends also secured some sponsorship and attached a cause to the event – testicular cancer awareness. This was especially relevant as Nick’s dad had recently been diagnosed with cancer.

Very quickly, 200 men had signed up for the inaugural Daredevil Run. Many of the original participants run every single year, which reflects the spirit of the first event that endures to this day, says Nick.

“The importance of this run has gone completely beyond what I originally imagined. I thought we'd raise some money once off, hand it over to CANSA and feel pretty good about ourselves,” says Nick.

Putting a spin on it

With the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, a single mass participation race couldn’t take place last year. But that didn’t stop the organisers from putting a spin on their annual event: they planned the first-ever nationwide “Covid-edition” Hollard Daredevil Run, where men in all corners of the country were challenged to put together smaller runs. This change will now be used as the benchmark going forward.

How it's impacted people's lives

Many people have reached out to Nick after learning about the Daredevil Run. 

"You saved my life. I had a PSA test when I was collecting my race pack at Hollard, and they picked up that I had signs of early prostate cancer. I'd never have known if it hadn't been for the run,” one man told Nick. 

READ MORE | Diagnosed with testicular cancer at 31

Nick also commented: “I must be honest; we've spoken to a number of guys who have said the same thing over the years, and it is pretty overwhelming. It is just incredible that with the support that Hollard has given this event, it has turned into such a popular and phenomenal force for good that is literally saving lives.” 

This year’s event is expected to be even bigger. All proceeds will go to the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of South Africa. 

Registration for the 2022 Hollard Daredevil Run is officially open - get your ticket for R160 on Webtickets and visit Daredevil Run for more information about this year’s Run.

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